DEFEAT for Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election was the most important outcome, no matter how excitedly the forces of neoliberalism greet Emmanuel Macron’s victory.
His posture as a political outsider, “neither left nor right,” will convince only those who still search the bottom of their garden expecting to find fairies.
This Rothschild banker entered Francois Hollande’s government to spearhead the Socialist Party (PS) president’s assault on employment rights and working-class living standards.
He bailed out last year to set up a new party to further that project once it was clear that Hollande had no chance of re-election.
Macron’s post-election rhetoric, promising voters that his government will ensure that they don’t have to vote for extremes of left and right in future is sinister in equating the radical left with the Front National anti-semites and Islamophobes.
Many voters who backed Jean-Luc Melenchon in the first round held their noses and cast their ballots for Macron in the second.
For Macron to demean them as on a par with the fascists sheds light on his political approach.
Record numbers of the electorate refused to choose — “ni facho, ni banquier” — in the second round, either staying away, handing in blank ballots or spoiling their papers.
Indeed, the abstention rate in its variety attracted more support than Le Pen, leading Melenchon to comment that she had come third in a two-horse race.
Macron has already changed the name of his En Marche (On the Move) party to Republique En Marche (Republic On the Move), while Le Pen is expected to rebrand the outfit founded by her father.
She claims that her organisation will provide real opposition to Macron’s party in the June 11 and 18 parliamentary elections, which would suit big business and the European Union establishment down to the ground.
The new president’s approach will follow in the wake of the Labour Law, known by its ministerial author Myriam El Khomri’s name, imposed last August without parliamentary scrutiny.
It allows bosses to sack workers more easily, reduces overtime rates, cuts redundancy payments and, while not directly abolishing France’s 35-hour week legislation, permits employers to sidestep the law through local agreements, thus encouraging divideand-rule tactics.
Le Pen has no interest in resisting the neoliberal onslaught unleashed by Macron and the mishmash of business representatives and politicians jumping ship from the sinking PS and similar time-expired rust buckets.
Only the left can provide a real barrier to the old-politics-from-new-snake-oil-salesmen Republic On the Move and Le Pen’s rebranded purveyors of hatred and division.
French Communist Party national secretary Pierre Laurent has declared that “a broad national, equitable and representative agreement, with a common banner that unites us all — France Unbowed, the Communist Party, Ensemble (Together), the Left Front — is necessary.”
He insisted that the promise of a new left, “born in the ballot boxes on April 23,” be made a reality.
In his post-election comments, Melenchon said that the programme of the “new presidential monarch” was already known, comprising war against the country’s social gains and ecological irresponsibility.
He echoed Laurent’s unity appeal, urging all on the left to come together, pointing out that, for about 600,000 votes, “you were eliminated from the second round.”
Principled left unity in the parliamentary election could yet enthuse the millions of voters who rejected the miserable scenarios unveiled by right and far-right in the presidential.